Confederate plates create mixed emotions

The Sons of Confederate Veterans is not a veterans group, as Samian Quazi’s Monday column “Confederate plates: An utter disgrace” says. These are individuals that had an ancestor that served in the Confederate army, navy or cavalry. Although some members may be veterans, it is not a requirement for being a member. They, for the most part, just want to honor those ancestors by displaying the flag logo.

Also, the image of that flag stirs a lot of emotion. The objections are not a surprise to anyone. But it also stirs a patriotic emotion in some people. The idea of standing up against government and of speaking for what you believe in are American ideals. Secession and the Confederate flag are the embodiment of the protest against the power that the federal government had at the time. South Carolina had been threatening secession for a number of years. Virginia was on the verge of abolishing slavery. The vast majority of Southerners did not own slaves. If you were to read the entire Texas Declaration of Causes, and those of other states that seceded, you will see that slavery was not the only issue that caused those states to choose secession.

Putting that flag on the Texas license plate creates mixed emotions in me. I can see the group’s point of how it honors their ancestors. But at the same time, I can see how so many people see the flag as a symbol of racism. As a Civil War federal troop reenactor, when I see the Confederate flag across the field, I do not think, “Those guys are racists!” I see men honoring their heritage as I am honoring mine.

It was after the Civil War with the rise of the Ku Klux Klan that the flag really took on its racist quality. Those are the people who promulgated the supremacy of the white race. Maybe we should go back to the forefathers of this country and give them some blame. When they wrote, “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” into the Declaration of Independence and then continued to be slaveholders, they titled themselves as hypocrites. For 85 years prior to the Civil War, the American flag supported slavery. Does anyone protest any U.S. flag with fewer than 36 stars? Or any flag that was flown prior to 1964, when the Civil Rights bill was passed?

In the context of the Civil War, I believe the flag is appropriate. But with the connotation that so many people have of the Confederate flag, just for the sake of avoiding controversy, my opinion is to leave the flag off the plate unless both the Confederate flag and a U.S. flag with 34 stars were on it. That would be a commemoration of the Civil War.

Steve Corey, Civil War reenactor